Saturday, July 30, 2011


On Sunday morning, bright and early, my best friend pulls out of the driveway I've driven up and down at least a hundred times in the last year and heads for her new home in another state.  I'm not quite ready to let her go!! :-)

You'd think it would be easy....I have lots of friends! Quilting friends, church friends, school friends, homeschooling friends -- and even Words with Friends friends! :-D

But it's a very rare thing when all the planets converge and all those friendship properties collide in one person! Jennifer has been friend, confidante, sounding board (probably a sounding BORED from her end! LOL), networker, quilter, shopper, purse maker (she came to my house and said, "We're sewing those purses you've had cut out for over a year TODAY!  Here, sew this seam!")...

We go to church together, quilt club together, quilt shows, homeschool events, Boy Scouts....
She even has a son named Sam!!  Could any two people be more destined to become friends?

Her boys and my Sam were best friends.  Luke and Sam were nearly inseparable, and my Emily is big sister to all of them.  Last fall we traveled with them to Mississippi for their family reunion, stopping by Operation Christmas Child (the shoebox people! :-D) to serve on the way home.

Our families ate dinner together tonight and I gave her a "scrapbook" quilt memento of our combined history (this is the "sneak peaks" I've been showing):

It has all the states we traveled together. "In-jokes" our families have shared.  (We'd laugh to split a gut over the Geico commercial with the militant therapist who asks, "You know what makes me sad...?  You do!" he answers himself! LOL).  A World Changers mission trip emblem; "Yo tengo hambre!" (I am hungry!! from teenage boys in the backseat of my van from KY all the way to Louisiana! LOL).  Runners for our boys and their cross country races and 5K's. Names and words and phrases and memories in the borders.  Favorite restaurants and funny experiences.

When Sam died, Jennifer and her boys were on their way to meet her husband, who had already started his new job there, to house-hunt in their new locale.  She was past Chattanooga, more than 3 hours from us.  When I called with the news that Monday morning, she immediately turned the car around -- put their life on hold!! -- and came to me.  And stayed all week. And served.  And cried with me and for me. 

She is beautiful and talented, wise, compassionate and practical, a gifted leader, teacher, organizer and networker.  She is wonderful at putting people together.  And I am missing her already.  We'll remain close, of course, but I will miss the everyday things!  I will miss her boys! Our lives -- and now our memories! -- are so intertwined....It's as if she is taking not only herself and her family but also a part of us, too. 

In Scripture there was such a friend.

The son of King Saul, Jonathan, befriended a shepherd named David.  "Jonathan," 1 Samuel 18:1 says, "became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself."  Later in chapter 20, Jonathan chooses David's welfare and future as king over his own (much to Saul's dismay and disappointment!).  When Jonathan warns David of the danger of King Saul,

"...David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most. Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town." (1 Samuel 20:41-42 NIV)
Only God can bring people together in such a way.  I am so blessed to have Jennifer as a friend!!  I hope I AM such a friend!!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Heart

I arrived home from camp on Saturday to find some lovelies waiting for me!
Two more beautiful blocks for Sam's Darling Hearts:

One from Mrs. G at From the Strawberry Patch and one from Janet O. at Rogue Quilter! They are perfect! I took the other blocks to camp to show the gals there, and I haven't put them back up on the design wall with these yet, but I will.  I can't wait to see how they all look together.

I can't just yet because of the I-can't-reveal-it-yet project that I'm working on.

I have another sneak peak (or two)....

For those of you who guessed states last time, yes...!  We are journeying through the south.  I should know by this weekend where I'm going! LOL  (Sorry, Crispy! I know how you hate sneak peaks!! :-D) 

I also received a package containing my Farmhouse Quilt Kit from Laundry Basket Quilts.  Just look at how Edyta puts her kit together!

Everything is labeled and folded beautifully so that you can see all the colors and textures.  I love her use of color!! And since I'm terrible at using batiks, I figure I'll take advantage of her flair for them to make the Farmhouse quilt from her Friendship Strips and Scraps book.
We also received word while I was at camp that our Sam died of cardiac disrhythmia of unknown etiology. Which means, of course, that his heart stopped and they don't know why.  Profound, huh!?
:-) We will probably not know in this life the physiological cause of his death.  Paul tells us, though, in 1 Corinthians 13 (Amplified) that the time will come when we will understand "fully and clearly":
12For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as [a]in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand [b]fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been [c]fully and clearly known and understood [[d]by God].
Our family doctor looked over the medical examiner's report and commented that Sam had a large heart! Not at all unusual for a runner like Sam.  But we knew he had a big heart long before he started running! :-)  Sam's best friend, Luke, commented that Sam loved without filters.

Like Jesus.

Paul ends his chapter this way:
13And so faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Sam's Darling Hearts will be a visible reminder of what love looks like!  I hope my own legacy is that my heart was big and I loved without filters!  .


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Home Away From Home

I'm spending this week in LaFollette, TN at Galilee Bible Camp where the kids and I have served during the last several summers.  It's Middle School week and Will is a camper and I'm leading worship each evening at chapel.

The staff and volunteers here pour themselves into the campers week after week during the summer.  They are dear friends, and they have been a wonderful influence on our family.  We are blessed to be a part of the ministry here.

This week, I'm not as active as usual at camp.  It's a kind of retreat for me, as there are memories of Sam everywhere.  Emily and Will, too -- so it's sweet and sad to be here with Sam gone, Emily grown up, and Will so quickly growing, too.

One of the missionaries, Rebecca, gave me a couple of heart blocks for Sam's Darling Hearts quilt.  She is catching the quilting bug (YES!! :-D), and rightly so with Selma Jean and I helping her catch it!!

Selma Jean, a prolific wonderful quilter, also made a heart block. And she surprised me yesterday with beautiful handmade ornaments, each embroidered with my children's names.

On Sam's she included the dates of his birth and death.  It struck me that from now on, people will see Emily and Will and think I only have two children.  But I have three.  I'll always have three. :-)  So three ornaments!! Selma Jean understands!!!

I brought projects to work on while at camp.  It's a nice quiet time for me, and I have some deadlines approaching....the Hands-2-Help quilt for Romania, for one!  I've got the blocks laid out and ready to be put together. The deadline is the end of the yeah! Onward!! LOL

I also have another project that is short on time (aren't they all! LOL)!  This one, I can't reveal just yet, but here is a hint....


I have the rest of that quilt in my head...and it's gotta get outa there and onto fabric in the next couple of weeks....Let's hope I can make that transition from vision to concrete reality! LOL

Between the heat and my working on projects, I'm ready for sleep tonight.  I'm resting on a beautiful pillowcase made by my friend, Lil.  She makes dozens of pillowcases to share with friends, family and people in need.  She knows my colors (red, green and gold!!), and I love that she included a label on the inside, too.

It's an oasis here, a home away from home.  Maybe because I take "home" with me! :-D  My sewing machine!  My pillow and my quilts.  My Pepsi! :-D (and a bit of zucchini bread).  My family. My friends.  My memories.

And the God of all Comfort and Peace:

Psalm 139:7-10

7Where could I go from Your Spirit? Or where could I flee from Your presence?
8If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the place of the dead), behold, You are there.
9If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.

There's no place like Home!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Words with Friends

I haven't gotten much done in the last few days.  I find that I've been captivated by a little game called Words with Friends!!

I inherited Sam's iPod -- everybody else in the family already had one!! -- and I figured I'd use it to listen to audio books while I work or walk.  Sam had mostly games and music on his, and 99% of the games didn't interest me at all, but I really wanted to play Words!

And boy, have I been playing!! LOL
I blame my children, of course.  They'd never play Scrabble with me. 

And while it's true that I'm a TINY (teeny, tiny, really!!!) bit competitive, I would have given them a sporting chance.  At first.  Until the opportunity came to use all my letters....

Tracy from Back to Basics plays with me.  And when she's busy (cooking, canning, gardening, quilting, walking....she gets LOTS of stuff done!!!) or her kids are busy (they really are very good sports!), I troll for random players online.  I'm enthralled!!! I keep the game up by my sewing machine and respond when I hear the "ding-a-ling" signalling a word has been proffered!

The t-shirt quilt I've been working on has a lot of words on it...

I like some of the sentiments that are going into the quilt.  Like this one:

Scripture says "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." (Proverbs 18:21 KJV)
I like how the Message version states it:
"Words kill, words give life;
they're either poison or fruit—you choose."

I have received literally hundreds of words of comfort and blessing since I started blogging last year, and most especially in the last few weeks. 

Good words make such a difference, don't they? 

"A word fitly spoken," says the Proverbs, "is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." (Proverbs 25:11 KJV)
Doesn't that description make you wanna applique? LOL 

"Picture" is a seven-letter's serious bonus points if I use all seven of my letters.  My ID is mlcasada if you wanna play!!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hearts and Sparrows and a UFO or two

July is passing too quickly!

I'm hoping to put the Heart blocks together along with completing this month's UFO's for Judy's UFO Challenge. My #2's are the top of the Victory Quilt (for which I have all the blocks done!), and quilting for Somerset (a Jo Morton pattern).

I've decided to name the Heart quilt, "Sam's Darlin' Hearts." :-)  Mostly because all the blocks are sweet and because they make me cry like Charlene Darlin' on Andy Griffith! :-D

The latest addition to the collection of blocks in memory of Sam comes from Barb at Fun with Barb.
Somerset (I "tweaked" Jo's pattern
by putting the blocks on point)

Barb pieced the background of her block from scraps of her Mother's Garden quilt.  She designed the beautiful memory quilt, completed the top last year, and she is hand quilting it.  It's a stunning tribute to her mom, and you can read about it here: Good Mourning

Her card said, "...I have only scraps left over from my 'Mother's Garden' quilt and very much wanted to use it for you.  I have one of my sparrows flying in with a double dose of Friendship and Love."

Quilt-in-a-Day's Victory Quilt blocks
The sparrow....well, that's another beautiful story.  Barb wrote about it in  The Sparrow Story and you'll be blessed as I was to note it's symbolism. 

I had to look up the lyrics to the song by Simon and Garfunkel that Barb referenced (it'd been a long, long time since I'd heard it!).  The last verse says this....
Who will love a little Sparrow?
Will no one write her eulogy?
"I will," said the Earth,
"For all I've created returns unto me,
From dust were ye made and dust ye shall be."

The little sparrow is a perfect addition to the quilt!

I've started planning the setting for the blocks...

I'm gonna use Sam's favorite blue to frame the lighter blocks, and a creamy delicate floral to frame the darker ones.  I've not arranged them yet in their final layout (there are a couple of blocks still coming, I think!), but I love shifting them around, standing back and listening as they sing to me. 

They are an orchestra of color, and the sum total of them more amazing than any single block.  And each has a story or a card or an encouraging word to go with it.  I'm making a page to tell their story (see above, Sam's Quilts) and the story of the quilts that will be made in his memory.

Barb references Psalm 84 --
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.  4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.

She couldn't know that one of my "life verses" is Psalm 84:11:  For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory;  no good thing will He withhold  from those who walk uprightly. 

Coincidence? Maybe, but I prefer to think that even in these little details God is being Himself and watching out for His little sparrows!

I think God is all about the details...
See what He says (another passage with sparrows...):

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10: 29-31

You are more precious than many sparrows!!!   Don't that'n just make you wanna cry!!??  :-)